Out of Work? Let's add structure to your day so you can make progress and stay sane!
You're out of work. You were either laid off, fired, or you've CHOSEN to take time off. Whatever your situation, you've decided to be super intentional about your next move so you don't end up repeating history and being miserable at work, yet again.
Maybe it's entrepreneurship? Freelancing? Smaller Company? Bigger company? A combination of passion projects and practical skills? Whatever it may be, you're committed to making the next move the right one. And that involves a combination of self-reflection, inspiration, expanding your perspective, following your gut intuition, and quieting the fear that gets in the way of pursuing what you love.
All of this is AMAZING! And you should be feeling incredible about this time you're taking for YOURSELF. However, you probably have A LOT more free time now than you're used to and may find yourself saying, "All this time with my thoughts is too much. I'm a bit lost and worried I'm going to take the next job that comes my way, just so that I don't go nuts, even if it may not be the right one."
I remember these days like they were yesterday. I had quit my job without another job lined up, but I had ideas of what I wanted to do. I had no real timeline around going back to work or starting my business. I was grateful for my savings cushion, but my only plan was to follow my gut intuition, wherever it told me to go and to lead with fun and love.
But on the days where yoga, dog walking, beach runs, meal prep, cooking, long/deep sleeps and browsing/posting on social media wasn't enough, fear would set in. I'd ask myself questions like, what's next? What if I never find it? What if I end up having to sell my condo? What if I can't pay my bills? What if I end up feeling more lost than I was in corporate America? And the worst, what if all the people who have called me crazy (for leaving something "so good") are actually right!?!
STOP THE MADNESS!
Turn on some Journey, DO NOT STOP BELIEVING. You are not alone. The fear WILL NOT win. You will not let it. And neither will I.
Wherever you are, if you're starting to feel like your thoughts are sabotaging you, here are my top 5 tips to give you more structure, intention, and progress forward. Try them out and let me know how it goes.
- Set a bedtime (and stick to it!)
You can browse the internet, watch the next 5 episodes on Netflix, or read the next self-help book, for days and nights on end... Set a limit. You need to have clear separation between each of your days; this whole new lifestyle is challenging in itself for our minds and bodies to get grounded in. Set reminders on your phone, 1) a wind down time, 2) a "lights out" time, and 3) and a wake up time. #3 is especially important if your sleep patterns are really out of whack. These boundaries will help you to start to feel a sense of accomplishment and see the progress you're making.
- Adopt a meditation practice
When you notice your thoughts start to spin into the direction of fear, turn on your meditation app for 5-10 minutes (I love Headspace). The earlier you catch the negative thought pattern, the easier it will be to reverse it and move towards doing something more productive with your time. Remember, it is called a "practice," similar to developing any habit, it takes time to make this routine. Be compassionate with yourself.
- Start answering these questions, make a plan, and commit
- What do you love doing/what causes do you feel most passionate about? Why?
- What are your strengths you want to use in your next career? Think about things like soft skills that are transferable across roles and industries: listening, leading/motivating people, resilience, driving results etc...
- What are your personal values that must align with the culture of your next endeavor? Think about things like flexibility, trust, mission, excitement, supportive learning environment, etc...
Commit to answering these questions, then take 1-2 ideas a step further each week. For instance, maybe you feel super inspired by (yet intimidated by) work someone in your LinkedIn network is doing. Can you reach out to learn more, offer to buy him/her coffee? Research their website so you can prepare and ask good questions.
- Maintain an abundance mindset about money and opportunities
The inclination when you're not working can be to stop spending money and save it. Instead of only spending on life essentials, try spending in alignment with your values and goals. Ask yourself, "does spending on this service/product move me closer to where I want to go and do I honestly feel good about it? Or is it distracting me?" The saying goes, you've got to spend money to make money. Believing there will be unlimited money and opportunity in your future can be super helpful during this time of uncertainty.
- Journal your progress
We are wired to weight the negative more greatly than the positive. We tend to compare ourselves to others who are WAY beyond where we are and tell ourselves we're not doing enough, or that we're not cut out for our dreams. SO, take note of what you ARE doing! Literally, write it all down and remind yourself that it's more than enough, as long as you're moving forward in some way.
The overarching goal here is to fill your days with all the things you love. Doing this will make it easier to evaluate what you want to explore as a career, and eventually, what you may decide to monetize. Whatever it may be, commit to it, love it, have fun with it, and the money will come.
Are you overwhelmed by the possibilities out there and nothing specific is jumping out at you? Let's make the plan together and get you the support you need to ensure you love your new career!